Developing an effective resume highlighting your qualifications for the position for which you are applying is crucial in a successful job or internship search. Your resume is a marketing tool that displays your education, skills, experiences and accomplishments for a specific position. The Feller Center resume resources include helpful resources to help you write your US-style resume.

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Resume Resources

International Students: Resume Example

International students often ask what information to include on the resume they will share with US employers. Your goal should be to highlight the experience you have that is relevant to the position to which you are applying. The tips below address the questions that international students typically have when preparing their resumes. Refer to the attached resume sample for an example of how the tips are applied.

Steps to developing a US resume:

  1. Work through the Resume Basics module that provides tips for crafting an effective resume in regard to both content and formatting. 
  2. Draft a resume using what you learned from the module and by reviewing the resume resources on the Feller Center's website.
  3. Get feedback on your resume. You may schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor in the Feller Center or the University Career Center. Alumni mentors in Terrapins Connect have also volunteered to review resumes. 

If including overseas experience or education in your resume, it is helpful to provide a frame of reference for the prospective employer. For example:

  • 2nd largest digital marketing firm in China
  • #1 ranked engineering program in Switzerland

Your name is usually the first thing that jumps out to recruiters.  It is important to list your name as it looks on legal documents, but if you have “adopted” an English first name, indicate this in parentheses at the top of your resume. If Americans have found your name difficult to pronounce, you may include the phonetic spelling beneath your name.

The Personal Summary is an optional section.  Here you might highlight your language and cultural fluency, as well as any qualifications that relate directly to the position you are seeking.

There are some major differences between American resumes and resume formats from other countries. Items in the Education Section (see the example above) are listed in reverse chronological order.  Start with your degree in progress.  If you have received degrees from other higher education institutions, you can list those after your University of Maryland degree information. If you list degrees from foreign institutions, provide a frame of reference (e.g. “equivalent to a two-year college”) when possible.  This will help recruiters understand the type of institution you attended.  If you decide to include a GPA from a foreign institution, make sure to convert the number to be consistent with the 4.0 GPA scale commonly used in the US.

Often your resume is the first impression an employer has of your skills and experience when considering you for an internship or other position. Employers determine what you will bring to the workplace by evaluating the skills and qualifications on your resume as they relate to the position for which you are applying.  Account for the variety of ways in which you have learned about American workplace culture by detailing your experiences working and/or volunteering at US organizations.

If you are an English language learner, highlight your ability to communicate in English throughout your resume.  Display how you are actively practicing your English skills to improve your oral and written communications.

Remember to check out the many other resume examples on the Feller Center website as well!

In the US, an undergraduate resume is typically one page in length and highlights your relevant qualifications for a specific position. A CV, however, is one and a half to two pages for an undergraduate and may be even longer for graduate students. It is a detailed overview of your academic background and accomplishments. Use a CV when applying to academic or research positions.

Writing Support

Every resume you submit should be free of spelling or grammatical errors. In addition to having a Career Advisor (the Feller Center offers frequent appointments) review your resume, seek a quick review from members of your support network at UMD who are native speakers of English. Signing up for an English Language Partner is another option; your conversation partner may be able to help with English grammar. Additional writing resources include the Writing Center, the Graduate School Writing Center and the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

US-culture guide to resume dos and don’ts:

  • Personal information such as full name and contact information (cellphone & email)
  • Links to personal website, blog, or LinkedIn profile (optional)
  • Education (highest degree first)
  • Relevant coursework (optional)

Relevant experiences in addition to formal internships or jobs:

  •    research experiences
  •    course/independent projects
  •    student leadership & volunteering
  •    skills (language, computer, etc.)

Personal information such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Home country, International permanent address, or Immigration status
  • Photograph

Other: 

  • English as a language skill
  • Grammatical or spelling errors
  • TOEFL or SAT scores

Cover Letters

A well-written cover letter is an important partner to your resume for an internship or job application in the US. It is your opportunity to show that you are an ideal candidate for the position by expanding on select experiences on your resume, making connections to the position, showing passion and interest in the position, career field and employer, and demonstrating your clear and concise written English skills.

Cover Letter examples and tips. 

Writing Resources

Similar to a resume, every cover letter you submit should be free of spelling or grammatical errors. Drafting it in Word to benefit from the spell check features of that program, proofreading out loud, and printing it before reviewing your cover letter again are some best practices. It is a good idea to have a career advisor review it. BSOS Undergraduate students may schedule an appointment with the Feller Center, and graduate students may meet with the University Career Center for individual  appointments.

If you aren’t fluent in English, seek a quick review of your cover letter from members of your support network at UMD who are native speakers of English.